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4 Easy Ways of Helping Others in Addiction Recovery

4 Easy Ways of Helping Others in Addiction Recovery

Author: Justin Mckibben

Studying Compassionate Goals

A recent study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology actually states that compassionate goals we set are about

“- striving to help others and avoiding selfish behavior” for example, “making a positive difference in someone else’s life.”

Researchers here measured how participating in self-image goals and compassionate goals had an impact on symptoms of depression and anxiety, along with their conflict with others.

This study concluded that its results suggest there is a very real relevance of self-image and compassionate goals for the interpersonal maintenance of issues like depression and anxiety.

Principally, the results held some pros and cons for people with anxiety. The downfall is that trying to boost self-image by avoiding vulnerability backfires, leaving people more depressed and anxious. This can create a difficult cycle to escape from emotionally.

The good news is that by focusing on helping others, we make everyone involved, including ourselves, feel better. This is because showing compassion through action doesn’t just relieve our anxiety or depression in the moment, but it helps us build our relationships, which can reduce anxiety and depression as they grow stronger and healthier. It is a win-win. In recovery from drugs or alcohol, we should take all the wins we can get.

4 Ways to Help Others that Help Us

If you want to utilize acts of kindness to help you grow in your recovery, there are plenty of ways to do it. Here are just 4 examples of things you can do to help others that will help you.

  1. Making constructive comments to others

”Words are singularly the most powerful force available to humanity.”

-Yehuda Berg

That statement is no exaggeration. If the pen is mightier than the sword, the spoken word is truly the undisputed champion.

In recovery use your words to help others. Make constructive comments that serve to build others up, while pointing out their strengths and celebrating their successes. This helps us develop a habit of focusing on the good in one another and ultimately in our communities and our lives. It can also build up our relationships to give us strong support.

  1. Having compassion for others’ mistakes

“Experience is simply the name we give our mistakes”

-Oscar Wilde

For a lot of people, it is already hard enough to accept their mistakes. Most of us are our worst critics. No one likes people pointing out their shortcomings. We all make mistakes. Try to be compassionate about it when others slip up.

Why is it important to show companion when someone else makes a mistake? Because not only does giving someone an empathetic response make them feel better, it also reinforces our relationship with them. It shows those around you that you are understanding and humble enough to support someone through their mistake without shaming them or holding it over their head.

In recovery, this means a lot because it is important to remember that we are also a work in progress. We have our own faults, and if we want to build a new life we have to move on from the old. Compassion can even help others show you the same support when it’s your turn to mess up.

  1. Don’t be self-centered

“A selfish man is a thief”

-Jose Marti

In most recovery fellowships there is an emphasis on avoiding the self-centered behavior. Being self-centered is never really beneficial in the long-term, even if it helps you with some level of instant gratification. In addiction recovery, being so self-involved can be counter-productive to healthy growth.

Surely it is ok to take care of yourself and honor yourself. But being self-centered makes it less about self-care and more about self-seeking and being inconsiderate.

In fact, high levels of depression and anxiety tend to make us turn inward and focus on ourselves even more. The worse we feel the more isolated we become. Being considerate of others and finding a way to help them can actually relieve anxiety and depression by turning that energy outward.

In recovery, we should think of others as we improve ourselves. When we realize we must make choices and take action to benefit people other than ourselves, our compassion gives us perspective.

  1. Avoiding harming others

“If you can, help others; if you cannot do that, at least do not harm them.”

-Dalai Lama

Last but certainly not least, we can easily help ourselves and others by not causing harm. If you can’t make someone’s life better, at least don’t make it worse. You don’t have to necessarily go out of your way and do random acts of kindness, but at least don’t do random harm to others.

And this kind of compassion is pretty much just common courtesy. It can be active on a small scale and still impact you in recovery. You can throw your trash in a garbage can so someone else doesn’t have to sweep it up later. You could put away your shopping cart at the grocery store, or even use that crazy ‘turn-signal’ thing everyone keeps talking about when you’re driving.

While these seem like silly examples, for some people it goes a long way to just be considerate with the little things. It helps build character slowly but surely, while also giving us a sense of our impact on other people. If we can learn to so how our small kindnesses add up, maybe we will be more aware of the power in our bigger decisions.

Compassion in Addiction Recovery

It might not always be easy, but the important choices often aren’t easy. In addiction recovery, we should try to work on ourselves as often as we can, especially for the benefit of others. If our actions can make a positive effect and help someone else, while helping us stay clean and sober, we are on the right track.

But how do we start on that path?

If you want to begin a new journey that will help you build the life you deserve, while helping those you love most, there is help. If you or someone you love is struggling, please call toll-free now.

CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135

Lena Headey of ‘Game of Thrones’ Opens Up About Anxiety

Lena Headey of 'Game of Thrones' Opens Up About Anxiety

Author: Justin Mckibben

Introducing… Cersei Lannister of the House of Lannister, Light of the West, Widow of Robert Baratheon, Queen of the Andals and the First Men, ruler of the Seven Kingdoms, Protector of the Realm and Lady Paramount of the Westerlands!

Or, as she was known before her stunning and captivating performance on HBO hit series Game of Thrones, the lovely and talented Lena Headey! This amazing actress recently reached out to her fans on Twitter to speak on something very personal; her experience with anxiety.

With GOT fever in full swing now that we are a mere 3 months away from the highly anticipated 7th season (which I cannot possibly be more excited for), it is nice to see a different side of one cast members true story.

Long Live the Queen

Lena Headey’s portrayal of Cersei also earned the No. 1 spot on a Rolling Stone Magazine ranking of the “30 Best Game of Thrones Villains”, being described as the:

“Most dangerous human being in Westeros” as well as “one of the most complex and fascinating characters on television.”

Truly, Cersei is that villain you love to hate until you hate to love her. Headey received a showering of award nominations for the character of the Queen of the Seven Kingdoms and a few wins for Best Actress.

A recent report stated that in 2017, Headey became one of the highest paid actors on television, and is suspected to earn $1.1 million per episode of the 7th season of Game of Thrones.

Before dominating the screen with the chillingly cunning character of Cersei Lannister, Lena Headey has starred in other awesome roles, including the Spartan epic 300. With her powerful and unflinching portrayals of these kick-ass characters, Headey is still a woman who faces some real difficulties in the real world. Beyond the roles in front of the cameras, she took on another powerful role as a voice to fans who asked for her perspective.

Speaking to the Fans

While the character may have once walked naked through the streets of Kings Landing to the Red Keep with the infamous “shame” bell lady behind her (yes… she had a body double… and yes I cried a little), Headey did not shy away when asked a personal question by a fan that got quite a few people talking. A follower on Twitter asked Headey,

“Do you ever get insecure Lena?”

The response was a few tweets which stated:

“I overthink for sure. I am familiar with depression.” She then continued by saying, “I get HUGE anxiety (always fun [frowny face]) Insecure, not really.”

Another tweet from Lena Headey on the subject came after stating:

“Anxiety is a beast. You have to talk to beasts. Release them back into the wild. Easier said than done I know but still. Good to Practice.”

But her majesty the awesome wasn’t quite done. She went on to tweet:

It’s been lost to greed and aspiration, no wonder we have anxiety, no wonder we overthink ..we’re slammed with bullshit. …”

Tricked into thinking. You don’t have enough. You’re not enough. Pretty enough. Thin enough. Rich enough. Capable enough. Successful enough.”

“Well here’s the truth. You are enough… in fact you’re who you’re meant to be which is BEAUTIFUL… Don’t be afraid to let someone really see you…Magic happens when you are vulnerable and truthful and human.

“Anxiety. Depression. It’s real and it’s chemical. It’s also spiritual. .. stay with me everyone (and before you ask, yes I’m ok)”

Looking through these tweets, the fans showed up with a flood of support for her statements. Many shared personal experiences and thoughts on her comments, while others thanked her for putting words to the way so many of them felt.

Advocate for Anxiety

This is not the first time Headey has spoken about such personal adversity and shown support for those struggling with mental health. A while back she opened up during an interview with More magazine about her bouts with depression and anxiety. In this piece she shared an experience of “massive grief” after her marriage had been dismantled. In her statements she shows her willingness to accept anxiety as part of life, but that getting older and becoming a mother taught her to “become less serious about it all”.

It is always refreshing to hear people who seem to be living the dream of spot-lights, red carpets and award shows step off that stage and show the people who adore their characters and their performances that they too are still people with a lot of the same problems. That beast of anxiety is much like any other mental health disorder in that it doesn’t care who you are or how glamorous things appear. A beast is a beast.

Some of the most powerful moments of the Game of Thrones series are scenes stolen by the Lady of Casterly Rock, and we are lucky to have them. This tweet and the conversation are a great example of how important it is to raise awareness and talk about things like anxiety and depression, to break the stigmas and provide support.

Even a queen needs a little help sometimes.

Spreading hope and stories of success even through these troubling experiences is a vital way to show others there is life beyond our obstacles. Mental health issues like depression and anxiety often go hand in hand with self medicating and even substance use disorder. Getting the right kind of help and coping skills can make all the difference. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free now. We want to help.

   CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135

Everything You Need to Know About Alcohol-Induced Anxiety

Everything You Need to Know About Alcohol-Induced Anxiety

(This content is being used for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted in the content is a model)

Author: Shernide Delva


The truth about using alcohol as a coping mechanism for anxiety will shock you. The reality is alcohol is a negative coping strategy. While many turn to consuming alcohol to deal with stress and anxiety, it offers only a temporary relief. In the long run, the withdrawals from excessive alcohol consumption heighten stress and anxiety, instead of resolving them.

If you have ever been a binge drinker before, you know the feeling. After a night of drinking, you wake up with a hangover. Except the hangover is not just a migraine or bout of nausea, it is the overwhelming feeling of anxiety. The condition is called “alcohol-induced anxiety” and occurs typically after heavy drinking. Some like to call it an “anxiety hangover.” You start to contemplate your life, and the feelings of despair can become so overwhelming that some turn back to consuming alcohol to relieve themselves of their worst symptoms. Over time, it becomes a nasty cycle.

Instead of turning to a temporary coping strategy, you need an anxiety solution. You must approach tackling anxiety head-first. Read more to discover the cause and solutions.

Alcohol and the Causes of Anxiety

The interesting thing about alcohol withdrawal is that it can cause anxiety on its own. Even if you do not struggle with anxiety, you can find yourself in an anxious ball after binge drinking. Alcohol-induced anxiety is already a problem by itself, but imagine the effect if you already have pre-existing anxiety. Those who struggle with an anxiety disorder will find their anxiety worsens after consuming alcohol. After the initial relief, symptoms return at high intensity.

There are various reasons why this occurs. Here are a few:

–  Excitable Central Nervous System

Your central nervous system controls your entire body, and when your body goes through alcohol withdrawal, your brain starts firing all sorts of neurotransmitters and chemicals. Your brain gets excited by the presence of alcohol. Continual heavy drinking puts stress on your brain function which ultimately increases anxiety.

–  Fear of the Withdrawal Symptoms

The fear of withdrawal plays a role in any major addiction recovery, and when it comes to alcohol-induced anxiety, the same applies. The feeling of alcohol-induced anxiety can become so severe that many resume drinking to relieve their symptoms. There are a variety of physical symptoms to alcohol withdrawal such as aches, pains, shakes, and headaches. Along with those physical symptoms are crippling anxiety effects. Therefore, some continue drinking to ward off the withdrawal symptoms. This behavior only contributes to the anxiety. The only way to heal is through seeking treatment.

–  Loss of Coping Skills = Higher Temptations

Alcohol makes it difficult to acquire strong coping abilities. When a person uses alcohol as a coping tool for too long, they forget how to cope with events occurring in their life. Stress is a coping skill. Alcohol dulls stress, so your brain no longer needs it to cope. Once the alcohol is gone, you may struggle to figure out how to handle stress, and severe anxiety is often the result. This makes it easy to want to return to old drinking habits; however, this only makes manners worse. You must learn new coping strategies to deal with stress and anxiety that do not involve consuming alcohol.

–  Alcohol Contributes to Anxiety?

While alcohol can cause anxiety for all of the reasons listed above, alcohol also makes anxiety worse. Those who drink alcohol regularly and are vulnerable to anxiety are more likely to have severe anxiety symptoms because they’re starting from a higher baseline.

That’s one of the main reasons that it’s so important to make sure that those with anxiety avoid heavy drinking. Not only do you lose your coping ability, but if you do decide to stop drinking alcohol eventually, the long-term consequences could be very problematic.

How to Reduce Anxiety during Alcohol Withdrawal

So what can you do about this? If your alcohol consumption has become unmanageable, the best thing you can do is check into an alcohol rehabilitation center. These places are equipped to handle the effects of withdrawal and coach you through the process. Alcohol withdrawal is a tricky business and it one of the few drugs which a person can die from. If you have been a heavy drinker for a long time, you need to seek the assistance of experts.

There are several treatment centers employ:

  • Slow Detox – Quitting cold turkey is not the answer. Most people need to get off their addictive substances slowly. The body responds better to a slow, gradual reduction. If you try and go cold turkey on your own, you may find the withdrawal symptoms too difficult to bear making relapse likely; Treatment centers help ensure that you are detoxing correctly.
  • Replacement Medications – In some cases, some medicines may be given to help with the effects of alcohol withdrawal. The most common are anxiety medication for those who struggle with the anxiety withdrawal symptoms of alcohol use. These drugs come with their risk of abuse, so it is so important to have a professional guiding you through the process.

After the Withdrawal Phase

After the withdrawal phase, you will learn to control your emotions and gain coping strategies. Addiction is a complex issue, but many people become addiction due to poor emotional coping techniques.

If you struggle with intense anxiety, you must get help to treat your anxiety. Alcohol only made the anxiety worse or creates it in the first place. If you want to free yourself from the feeling of alcohol-induced anxiety, you must be open to seeking treatment from a professional.

Recovery from alcohol addiction is not an easy process, and alcohol-induced anxiety only makes the process worse. Alcohol-induced anxiety occurs during the withdrawal stage from alcohol. If you find yourself in this wicked cycled, please reach out for help. The answers lie beyond consuming alcohol. Do not wait. Call now.

   CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135

TV Star Craig Ferguson Reflects on 25 Years Sober

 

TV Star Craig Ferguson Reflects on 25 Years Sober

Author: Shernide Delva

TV star Craig Ferguson recently celebrated 25 years of sobriety on February 18, 2017. He tweeted to his followers about his major milestone.

He said: “I’m 25 years sober and anyone who knew me back then would tell you how impossible that is. Thanks for the miracle.”

Craig Ferguson became a household name as the presenter of the Late Late Show which since has been taken over by James Corden.

In an interview, he acknowledged the start of his recovery journey:

“I got sober. I stopped killing myself with alcohol. I began to think: ‘Wait a minute – if I can stop doing this, what are the possibilities?’ And slowly it dawned on me that it was maybe worth the risk.”

During his years on the Late Late Show, Ferguson regularly discussed his days in active addiction in a humorous and commendable way.

For example, in 2007, when pop star Britney Spears was struggling with her own personal issues, Ferguson was one of the only late night hosts to not poke fun at her. That year, Spears was caught shaving her head and getting lips tattooed on her wrist. In case you do not remember, the media went berserk. Shortly after, Spears was checked into rehabilitation. At the time, Ferguson felt it was wrong to joke at another person’s expense.

“Now I’m not saying Britney is alcoholic, I don’t know what she is — alcoholic or not — but she clearly needs help,” he said.

Reflecting on Sobriety

In an interview to Times magazine in 2009, Ferguson explained that even if he was not an alcoholic, he would not drink. The concept of drinking without getting drunk simply does not interest him.

“The idea of having one or two drinks bores the ass out of me. If I’m going to drink, I’m going to do it to get drunk. If I’m not going to get drunk, I’m just not going to drink. It’s hard to explain. That isn’t necessarily what alcoholism is, I just tried to explain it as it manifested itself in me.”

Right getting sober, Ferguson admits alcohol saved him from committing suicide. In one of his most famous monologues, Ferguson talks about a weekend “all-night bender” that shifted the direction of his life. He woke up on Christmas morning covered in his own (or someone else’s) urine and miserable.

That morning, he decided he would commit suicide by swine-diving over the tower bridge in London.  He decided to stop by his favorite bar and that was when his bartender Tommy offered him a glass of cherry. One thing led to another and Ferguson says he forgot to kill himself that day.

“Here’s the important point: the alcohol saved my life. I was self-medicating. I’m an alcoholic.  I needed alcohol. I needed something…” he said.

After that day, he continued drinking heavily doing stand-ups and continuing his binge-drinking ways. Finally, on February 18, 1992, he called his sober friend seeking help and that friend helped him go to rehab.  After his 28 day stint in rehab, Ferguson says the work had just begun.

“I don’t have a drinking problem. I have a thinking problem.”

Ferguson finally understood his alcoholism and accepted that, for the rest of his life, he would have to stay sober.

“Certain types of people can’t drink. I’m one of them,” he said.

In the 2007 monologue, Ferguson concluded that the best way he copes with his alcoholism is through reaching out to others who have had similar experiences.

“I have found that the only way I can deal with [alcoholism] is to find other people who have similar experiences and talk to them. It doesn’t cost anything. And they’re very easy to find. They’re very near the front of the telephone book. Good luck,”  he said.

Now 25 years sober, Ferguson remains grateful for each day.

Ferguson’s Upbringing

Growing up, Craig Ferguson did not have the easiest childhood.  Born in 1962, he had the kind of dark childhood that often leads many to a career in comedy. He was chubby and bullied and he lived in Cumbernauld, 15 miles outside Glasgow.  Ferguson notes that his town was named the ­second-worst town in the United Kingdom, an appraisal he finds excessively flattering

Then, during a punk phase in the 80s, he played drums in a band called the Dreamboys. His band-mate, actor Peter Capaldi, convinced him to try comedy. He wrote about all of this in his memoir American on Purpose.

“Peter was the first person who told me that being funny was a gift and, when done well, was an art form,” he writes. “Up until this point, I had learned that being funny, particularly in school, was stupid and could get you physically injured.”

After a few false starts, Ferguson went back to the drawing board, inventing a character to play at a show in Glasgow. He decided to parody all the native über-patriot folk singers in Scotland and the act stuck. From that point, Ferguson was on his way.

Yet, as his career and comedy continued to climb, Ferguson’s alcoholism continued to drag him down. Ferguson spent his spare time draining himself with too many pints of alcohol. Finally, on that fateful day in 1992, Ferguson made the decision to get sober. That was just the beginning, and 25 years later, he understands his disease more than ever.

“I have an addictive personality,” he notes. “I’ll try anything a hundred times just to make sure I don’t like it.”

—-

Overall, Craig Ferguson exemplifies why one should never give up on their sobriety. Regardless of how deep into your addiction you believe you are, it is never too late to reach out for help. Do not wait. Call now.

   CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135

Men’s Mental Health is A Silent Crisis

Men's Mental Health is A Silent Crisis

(This content is being used for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted in the content is a model)

Author: Shernide Delva

The strongest people are not those who show strength in front of the world but those who fight and win battles that others do not know anything about.
–Jonathan Harnisch

Mental health stigmas prevent those struggling with mental illness from seeking treatment. There have been significant strides to reduce the stigmas surrounding mental illness. Yet, when it comes to men, mental illness is often overlooked. Numerous researchers have stated that there is a silent crisis in men’s mental health. More awareness is needed specifically for men to reduce mental health stigmas.

Men struggle with seeking help for their mental illnesses because of the stereotypes and stigmas involved. Men have elevated rates of suicide and substance abuse, as well as low rates of mental health service use.  Mental health is a serious priority and there are reasons why men, specifically need to be motivated to seek treatment.

 3 Reasons Why Men’s Mental Health is a Silent Crisis

  1. Suicide:
    Men make up over 75 percent of suicide victims in the United States. Every 20 minutes, a man dies from suicide. Men living in rural areas and small towns are at a higher risk of suicide. States like Wyoming, Montana, New Mexico and Utah have the highest rates of suicide in the country. Alaska also has very high rates. The reason for this varies and has been attributed to various factors. One factor is the massive decline in employment in areas like manufacturing, forestry, and fisheries, leaving large amounts of men under-employed or unemployed in certain regions.A common reasoning behind this may be due to rejection from mainstream society, leading to strong feelings of alienation and isolation.
  2. Substance Abuse:
    Substance use disorder is high among man. Men have a rate of 3 to 1 when it comes to substance use compared to a woman. Substance abuse is sometimes referred to as “slow-motion suicide.” It often ends in premature death if left untreated. A variety of genetic and environmental components can result in substance abuse. High rates of substance abuse occur in certain sub-groups, including veterans, which are predominately men. Therefore, men need interventions in this area.
  3. Lack of Mental Health Service Utilization:
    Research reveals that men are less likely to access mental health resources compared to a woman. This is especially true among Black, Latino, and Asian men, who have lower utilization rates than white men, as well as women in general.Another explanation is that mental health services are catered more towards women and do not attune to men’s needs, especially minority men. Research shows that men prefer action over words in the midst of stressful circumstances. This could explain the popularity of interventions where men get together for physical activities while engaging with each other in the process.

What Can Be Done to Improve Men’s Mental Health?

Men’s mental health should be recognized as a social issue as much as a health issue. There are a variety of factors such as unemployment and familial disruptions that affect mental health. Secondly, there should be more options in the system with male-tailored options that respond to men’s unique needs.

Men tend to shy away from seeking mental health treatments due to the stigmas associated with it. It is important that more resources are available that appeal to men. Men have alarming rates of suicide, substance abuse, and other mental illnesses.

If you or someone is struggling with mental health or substance use disorder, please reach out for help. Do not let the stigmas behind your condition get in the way of you seeking treatment. We have professionals waiting to get you on the right track. Do not wait. Call now.

   CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135

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